Wear a synthetic layer next to your skin to wick away moisture from perspiration. If you must hike in cotton T-shirts and shorts, carry other clothing to change into should the weather turn cold. Cotton soaks up moisture and doesn’t dry readily, leaving the wearer wet and chilly when activity slows or when the wind picks up. In addition to the items below, one may need to add additional layers, depending on the time of year and locations of the hike (i.e. exposed summits). It is also a good idea to have dry clothes and footwear in the car to change into at the end of the hike, especially for children. A happy and comfortable child is more likely to want to go on the next hike!

____Polypropylene long underwear top and bottom ____wind and rain gear (top and bottom)
____wool sweater or synthetic pile jacket ____extra wool or synthetic socks
____extra shirt ____wool or fleece hat and gloves or mittens
____long pants ____study boots, preferably waterproof
____shorts ____gaiters (nice if wet, muddy or snow on ground)

In addition, lightweight sneakers are good to bring when stream crossings are likely.

Other Items

____sunglasses ____pack cover/plastic bags to keep items in pack dry
____sunscreen ____matches (waterproof)
____whistle ____flashlight and extra batteries
____knife ____toilet paper
____insect repellent ____bandanna or handkerchief
____small trowel for digging "cat hole" for human waste disposal (may be a group item) ____personal items such as medications, extra eyeglasses, toiletries, etc.

Some of the items above may not be appropriate or necessary for younger children, however the accompanying adult(s) should bring the above. Some groups or families with children make sure everyone has a whistle and establish a signaling code in the event the group gets separated.

Food and Water

Day hikers need high energy foods that are easy to carry and require little or no preparation. Foods that are convenient for quick stops and snacks are often times better than larger items since hikers, especially children, like and need to eat more often than the traditional three set meals per day. In addition, in inclement weather it may be uncomfortable to stop for an extended lunch break. Such items as fresh or dried fruit, granola bars, cheese cubes, crackers, and trail mix (a mix of nuts, raisins or other dried fruit and chocolate chips or M&M’s) are good for snacks and short stops. Bagels, pita bread, flour tortillas or English muffins are good with peanut butter, cheese, tuna, hummus or other items spread on them for a more leisurely lunch. Equally important are fluids. For even moderate hiking, adults may consume 2 or more liters of water with considerably more needed for strenuous hikes, so adequate water and/or juice is important. Dehydration can result in loss of energy at a minimum and can lead to reduction in the body’s ability to properly function.

Group Items

____Field and Trail Guides ____Map and compass
____length of light weight rope or line ____duct tape & other repair items
____trash bag(s) ____extra water
____sleeping bag and pad for emergency use ____first aid kit (see 1. below)
____extra snacks ____Bag of tricks (see 2. below)

In groups with children, extra food/snacks and water that are readily available can provide a child with a needed boost while on the trail. 1. Basic First Aid items: disinfectant swabs and ointment, band-aids, moleskin, gauze/ace bandages, analgesic (child and adult doses of ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin), antihistamine (i.e. Benedryl). 2. Bag of Tricks: A bag with small items such a hand lenses, compasses, paper and crayons, etc. that can be used by children in the group for games and activities.


A day pack should be large enough to carry your essential gear and fit comfortably. Parents or other adults will likely need to carry all of a younger child’s gear, however as soon as they are able, children will (hopefully) want to help. Fluids and snacks are good first candidates for a child’s pack.